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Right under your nose: Three ways marketers can improve customer journeys using data

One ‘D’ word has had an impact on many of our working lives over the last few years. Data – and a data-driven approach to B2B marketing – is becoming the norm. Of course, no marketer would start work without a full understanding of their target market, but it is wrong to use data just for basic scene-setting tasks. It can be used to fuel the whole customer journey; from the first interaction, profiles of customers should be grown and nurtured as the relationship develops. This record of the journey can prove invaluable to marketers in many ways, including:

  1. Marketing to existing customers

All data you hold should be used to inform customer communications. Expectations around personalisation have grown in recent years, and businesses launching blanket campaigns are likely to come across as lazy, hardly suggesting they value that person’s custom. Emailed offers should interplay with goods and services a customer has already bought, for example, and if they’ve previously mentioned they do not like telephone contact, never call them.

  1. Sharing with other parts of your business

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to have to make an insurance claim, you will know how much of a headache any long, drawn-out process can be when the customer has to give the same information to multiple departments. But data is everybody’s responsibility, so marketers should be sharing information with other departments and encouraging others to do the same. With a central repository of information from various interactions with the customer (the marketing department and sales, for example), claims or similar processes should become easier: you will already have a rounded picture of the customer that is updated throughout the process, meaning the claim can be processed as quickly and fairly as possible.

Again, working in the format that best suits the customer will greatly support this sense of an easier customer journey, and ultimately makes it far less likely that the customer will eventually take their business elsewhere.

  1. Empowering customers

Don’t just keep customer data within your own walls – it’s prime B2B marketing material. People are becoming increasingly keen on making their own, informed decisions, whether they’re putting together an employee benefits package or ordering office supplies. There’s great potential for customers to be educated and empowered by using data you hold about them in marketing outreaches. Sharing data will lead them to appreciate your business a lot more, and as such is likely to result in a longer-term relationship.

For example, a bank can give existing business customers information on how choosing different accounts and packages will affect them by sharing data in the form of graphs and comparisons. This will demonstrate to the customer just what they are buying and ensure that they are completely happy.

It’s time for marketers to step up

There’s huge potential to create better customer journeys through better application of data, and B2B marketers should be leading the way. Everybody wins if businesses use customer data to improve their communications; they will be in a much better position to provide a great service, and customers will have a more pleasant journey than ever before. It’s up to marketers to set the standard for the rest of the business however, and once everybody else follows suit, they will be able to reap the rewards.